Black Educators at North Hennepin Community College invited the “Den Brothers” to come take a glimpse into college life.
The “Den Brothers” are a program made up of young Black men in Minnesota who are mentored towards success. They focus on self-development, and take college tours to inspire the youth through opportunities and the looks of a bright future. The facilitators that led the tour were all people of color and did more of an “informal tour” to connect deeper with the group of young men on their aspirations and feelings towards college
Having Black leadership roles to inspire the young Black community is vital in developmental stages in terms of aspirations. That is inherently why the facilitators were all people of color. They shared their education journeys and how the college experience impacted their lives, opening up the table for questions the young men may have had.
Some of the educators were first-generation graduates of high-school and/or college graduates, a common story amongst marginalized communities who may have been raised with a lack of resources and financial support. Hearing the facilitators express stories of overcoming barriers in pursuit of personal and generational wealth really drew conversation out of the young men, who were between the ages of 10-18.
The young men, common to this generation, had an array of interests, many in the entrepreneurial field. I asked a few of the youth how they defined success and their answers blew me away. They didn’t tie success to money, but instead said achieving success is measured by how good you feel about yourself…
The young men shared interest in careers of business, entrepreneurship, veterinarian, fashion, theater, engineering, and science to name a few. Leader of the “Den Brothers,” Debonaire, makes extra effort into assuring these young men can get connected with Black experts in the fields of his boys’ interests, saying his work comes straight from his desire to give back to a community that served him well. You can check out more about the mentorship program here.